Janeane Ellen Tjaden Christy, 80, passed away peacefully on September 21, 2023 surrounded by her family at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City.
Janeane was born January 27, 1943, in Charles City, Iowa, where she grew up with an older brother and spent time on her aunt’s farm with her beloved horse, Gypsy Queen. She was a devoted daughter to her mother, Winnie, who imparted a love of language and education. She attended Iowa State Teachers College (now University of Northern Iowa), where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in English, followed by her Master’s degree from NE Missouri State Teachers College. She met Richard “Dick” Christy at Iowa State Teachers College (UNI). They married on June 6, 1964, and enjoyed 57 years of marriage. They lived in Keota, Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, and then settled in Ottumwa. They adopted two daughters who were her pride and joy: Heather, who is now a physician and genetics researcher, and Shawna, who taught first grade. Dick was their biggest cheerleader, and Janeane was their biggest advocate, ensuring they had every opportunity to become strong, independent, successful women. She was “Grammy” / “Nia” to four grandchildren whom she adored and who cherished their time with her. She adored animals, especially horses, and could never turn away the stray dog or cat that appeared at the door.
Janeane was never idle. She ran a 4H group, was Shawna’s booking agent for singing, helped Dick with his insurance business, taught at the community college, was active in the Chamber of Commerce, created a prom dress rental shop (“Adopt-A-Dress”), regularly attended book club, and taught Spanish at Ottumwa High School. She loved to travel. She spent a summer in Norway during high school, and she and Dick led school trips to Mexico and England. She practiced her Spanish in Costa Rica, visited Rome with her family, cruised to Alaska with her daughter and granddaughter, and cherished adventures with dear friends (the Ya-Yas) including cruises to Hawaii and the Mediterranean. She applied her love of cultures to running the foreign exchange student program at OHS and teaching English language learners. She loved connecting with students from across the globe, even housing several exchange students in their home.
After they retired, Dick and Janeane traveled in their motorhome and eventually settled in Mesa, AZ, for 12 consecutive winters. They spent time there with her brother and sister-in-law, and Janeane took up tennis and loved the social activities.
Janeane is survived by her daughters: Heather Mefford, son-in-law Chris Mefford, and grandchildren Benjamin and Audrey; and Shawna Husted, son-in-law Allen Husted, and grandchildren Korynn and Kyler; sister-in-law Kay (Craig) Tjaden and nieces and nephews. Janeane is preceded in death by her beloved husband, Dick Christy, her parents, and her brother, Craig Tjaden.
Her body has been cremated. A time to celebrate her life will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday, October 14th at Reece Funeral Home. Her family will be present to greet friends starting at 2 p.m. Saturday.
In lieu of flowers, the family would welcome donations to the Heartland Humane Society to honor Janeane’s soft spot for animals.